By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Given the amount of talking he does, it was only a matter of time until Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey had something to say about someone on the New England Patriots.
While the dynamic 23-year-old usually backs up his trash talk, he added a lot more fire to Week 2’s Patriots-Jaguars matchup in Jacksonville (not that an AFC Championship Game rematch really needs any extra zest). In an interview with ESPN’s Mina Kimes for ESPN The Magazine, Ramsey took a pretty big shot at Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.
When I mention that the Patriots still have All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski, he makes a face. “I don’t think Gronk’s good.” Registering my involuntary blinking, he course-corrects. “Let me say — I don’t think Gronk is as great as people think he is.” Before the Patriots game, he explains, he had the Jaguars’ analytics staffers pull some numbers for him. “Any time Gronk has been matched up with a corner, he’s had a very bad game — and that corner has had a very good game.” (Gronk has performed much better when lined up in the slot than he has on the perimeter, where he’s more likely to encounter elite corners — his catch rate drops from 71 percent to 56 percent, which is lower than that of the average NFL tight end.)
I ask him what Gronk did in the AFC championship. “Literally nothing. He may have had, like, one catch,” he says. (Ramsey is correct, though Gronkowski left before halftime because of a concussion.)
That’s quite the statement regarding one of the most dangerous offensive players in the NFL, and one that is tough to agree with given Gronkowski is a four-time All Pro with 77 career touchdowns in 102 games. The AFC Championship Game was the only time Ramsey has ever played against Gronkowski, and clearly, he wasn’t impressed by Gronk’s one half of football.
Ramsey also brought up Danny Amendola in his interview with Kimes (though he initially couldn’t tell if he was talking about Amendola or Julian Edelman), who he deemed “terrible.” It sounds like Ramsey believes the success of anyone catching passes in a Patriots uniform is all because of quarterback Tom Brady.
“He just got a brand-new contract and he is terrible,” Ramsey said of Amendola. “People think he’s so great. No, he’s not. Tom [Brady] made him look good. Tom could take me as a receiver and I’d be a first-team All-Pro.”
“Terrible” is pretty harsh for a player who was such an integral part of two Super Bowl-winning teams, but Ramsey is not alone in thinking Amendola will take a step (or 10) back now that he has Ryan Tannehill throwing him the ball instead of Brady.
Ramsey has no fear over giving out his opinion on opposing players and he certainly doesn’t mince words, critiquing all 32 NFL quarterbacks recently in GQ. While the Patriots are a buttoned-up franchise that rarely says anything to provide an opposing team with bulletin board material, Ramsey is the exact opposite. It’s pretty entertaining, and for the most part, Ramsey backs up all the smack talk he spews.
We’ll see if he can do that again in two weeks when Gronkowski and the Patriots head to Jacksonville.